30 March 2011

A John Story

After work yesterday, I had to go to Wal-Mart to get some large envelopes and baggies for my students to put their research materials in.  (Yep, paid for out of my own pocket because after I ordered Grade Master forms with my teacher allocation money, I have a whopping $1.33 left over.  Not a whole heck of a lot I can get with that.)  Anyway, it was after 4:30 before I got home.  John had gotten the grass cut and was about to do the trimming.  After he did that, I heard him crank up the push mower so he could do the part of the yard that is fenced.

While he was doing that, I sorted laundry and started a load and then sat down to watch the news and read the paper.  The picture on the TV began to do weird stuff, but I figured John had just bumped into the satellite dish.  A few minutes later, the satellite signal was completely lost.  I still didn't think anything about it and figured I'd just tell him when he came in.

A few minutes later, his cell phone rang.  I saw that it was Mark, so I took it out to John.  I waited while they talked, and then I told him about the satellite signal being lost.  Like me, he figured he'd done something when he was mowing.  So he went out to check, and I came back inside.

Weeeeeeelllllllllllllll, John actually DID do something, but it wasn't as simple as bumping the satellite. 

Before I tell you what he did, let me explain our satellite experiences.  When we first bought the house, we had cable, but it was horrible.  Every time it rained in Roanoke (where the company was based) we would lose service.  After a while, that got old, so we decided to go the satellite route.  I don't remember why, but we went with Dish first.  At the time, neither Dish nor Direct had local programming for our area, so we had to have an antenna to pick up the Birmingham and Montgomery channels.  A couple of years later, our reception with Dish was more sporadic than our cable reception had been.  We tried everything, but nothing ever worked.

John, the grump that he can be at times, got fed up and cancelled the Dish service and signed up with Direct TV.  When the installer came, we learned WHY our Dish reception had been so horrible.  That installer had spliced the cable and didn't water proof it, so over time, dirt got into the splice.  Every time it would rain, water would get in too, and there went our signal.

Another few years go by, and for whatever reason, John got fed up with Direct, so we went BACK to Direct.  By this time, Dish offered local channels out of Montgomery, anyway.  The installer came and informed me that no, we wouldn't be able to get local channels because a tree was in the way.  Of course, they cannot tell you to cut the tree.  He said he would call the expert and have him come check it out.  So, the expert came out a couple days later, and said, YES, we COULD get the local channels but the satellite needed to be mounted higher that normal so that the angle would be above the roof line.  He showed me exactly where the pole needed to be so I could show the installer.

The installer returned a couple of days later and again was insistent that it would not work, even after I showed him where the expert said the pole needed to be and told him that the expert said it needed to be mounted higher.  He said he would call the expert himself to find out.  He did, and the next thing I know, he is installing the satellite dish in the same spot I had just shown him, and when he was finished, the satellite was about 3 feet higher than they usually install them.  And we have rarely had any problems.

Until yesterday.

When John came back in, his first words were "Those idiots ran the new line to the old pole."  I was confused because I didn't know which idiots he was talking about.  Turns out that when the last Dish installer came (the one who said it wouldn't work), he connected the new Dish cable to the old Direct cable.  The cable ran from the new dish to the old pole and from the old pole to the house.  For probably five or six years now, John has been cutting grass and dealing with the cable being in his way, but yesterday, he decided to do something about it.  He cut it, therefore cutting our satellite reception.  (My reply to him when he said they were idiots was that maybe he should have checked for himself to see where the cable went.)  He was quite ill.  (I was sort of ill because I figured it would mean that I would have to miss the basketball game last night.) 

We went to eat, and then he tried to fix it.  It didn't work, but he tried, so I couldn't be mad.  I was having an allergy attack, so I wouldn't have been able to stay awake for the game anyway.

When I got home today, I asked him if he got the cable fixed.  He said he did.  I asked what he had to do.  His reply:  "I called Dish."  LOL  He called them and explained what happened, and they sent someone out to fix it the right way.  So now he can cut grass without having to worry about the cable being in his way.

I love this crazy man o' mine!

Have a GREAT day!

28 March 2011


The AHSGE results came back today.  Well, hard copies haven't, but Christy (our counselor who is over testing at the high school) got the results online.  Of the ten students I had for the language remediation class last semester, eight of them passed!!!  I am so excited for them!  I am extremely disappointed for the two who did not, though.  The sad thing about them is that they are seniors, and this was their last chance to take the exam.  However, they both have IEPs, and even though they have been working toward a high school diploma with a technical endorsement, they will still be able to participate in graduation ceremonies.  I'm not sure if they will have the requirements to receive the Alabama Occupational Diploma or if they will receive a certificate of attendance.  I hope they have what it takes to get the AOD.

Of the four students I have this term for the language remediation class, all but one passed the language portion, and she was so close!  I'm not sure if they will stay in my class for a study hall or if they will find another class.  Or who knows...maybe they'll even get to leave school the last block of the day.  (I guess that would depend on the number of credits they have.)  I really hope that they don't stay in my class so I can work uninterrupted with the one student who didn't pass.  Actually, I have an assistant that block, and she didn't pass, either, so I would be working with both of them.  The others are great kids, but think back to when you were a 17 year old high school junior.  If you didn't have something to keep you busy, you sat and talked, right?  I know I did.  :)

Any of the juniors who didn't pass a section will have an opportunity to take the exam again in the summer, and then they will have three chances their senior year.  Some of the ones I had still have other sections to pass, mostly social studies.  The crazy thing about the social studies is that the majority of the test comes from the second part of American history, which they don't take until their junior year.  Some had been in American History 2 for only about 8 weeks when they had to take the AHSGE, so they hadn't covered much of the material.  This year, our social studies department made some changes.  Now American History 1 is taught in the 9th grade, and American History 2 is taught in the 10th grade.  Juniors will take world history (except this year and next year...all of this year's juniors and sophomores already had world history), and seniors will continue to take government and economics.  Doesn't that just make more sense all the way around?  Hopefully, we will see improvement on the scores for social studies for sophomores.

We're one day closer to spring break.  Everybody is so tired and ready to get to April 11th.  Teachers who have children in the elementary schools have said that their kids are exhausted.  They are having to test for one more week without having had a break since Christmas.  I'll be surprised if we don't see a change for the worst in their test scores.  And then that will affect our AYP.  Then we'll have to listen to how we didn't do as well as we needed to.  **sigh**

Guess that's it for now.  :)  Have a GREAT day tomorrow!  I sure hope mine is better.  Other than the good news about my kiddos, today has been about the crappiest of crappy Mondays.

27 March 2011

Two weeks and counting

We still have two weeks until our spring break, and it seems like forever.  I know they will go by more quickly than I think they will.  Or at least I hope they will. 

John is taking that Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off, and we'll go to the lake.  Well, I'll stay the entire week.  We've got a few things to do, so I hope I can get spend some time relaxing in the sun on Monday and Tuesday.  :)

The next two weeks will be spent doing research.  Oh joy.  The GREAT thing is that with Ashley being there, it will be a lot easier to answer the eleventy-billion questions.  And on the days when we're in the library, Lisa and Anne will be available too.

I'm exhausted, so I'm heading to bed.  Have a GREAT week!

19 March 2011

Macon, GA - March 18 & 19, 2011

Pictures from our B.A.R.T 2011 trip with Susan and Tim.  What is B.A.R.T. you ask.  Well, let me tell you.  Back during our HUGE tailgating days, we named ourselves the "Big Ass Tailgate Team" because Susan and Tim started bringing one of the ginormous Igloo coolers.  Somebody (probably me since I'm the one who tends to cuss more than the others) called it a big-ass cooler.  That lead to jokes about us having a big-ass Port-a-Potty, big-ass this, and big-ass that.  Sooooo...we decided to name this trip our Big Ass Road Trip 2011, or B.A.R.T. 2011.  :)

Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon, Georgia - cherry trees were in bloom all over the city.  They were GORGEOUS!

 Close up of one of the cherry branches - what a vibrant shade of pink!

 The REAL reason behind our trip - a visit to The Big House Museum.  The Big House was rented in January 1970 by Berry and Linda Oakley.  During the time that the Allman Brothers were living and recording in Macon, the Big House became a place that was "home" to many of those who were considered family by the ABB.  Of course, John was the first to spot the mushroom on the gate as we drove by.  LOL

 The house is beautiful, both inside and out.  If they wanted to give it to me to live in, I would take it in a heartbeat.  The pine floors simply gleam.

 Stained glass at the front door - The pieces on either side at the top have the dates that the house was used by the ABB, and the center section has ABB.  The afternoon sun coming through lit the windows up.

 This shirt was given to Gregg Allman by Eric Clapton.  Other interesting pieces of memorabilia were in the case...concert tickets ($1.50 for a concert!), contracts, pictures, checks...

Around 1973, Dickey Betts wrote "Blue Sky" for his new wife.  (She was of native American descent, and her name translated into Blue Sky.)  Across the street from the house is a beautiful church.  The line "Good ole Sunday morning / Bells are ringin' everywhere" comes from the bells in that church ringing.  I've always loved that line, but now that I know the story behind it, I think I love it even more.  Oh yeah, "Blue Sky" is John and my song.  
The shirt here was owned by Duane Allman.  It's hard to tell, but he is wearing this shirt in the picture below it.  Pretty cool, I think!

Yeah, this is a hookah.  Don't be shocked.  Most rock bands in the 60s and 70s (and even today) were known for their hard living.  It was sex, drugs, and rock and roll, after all.  The hookah and the table it is sitting on can be seen in the picture to the left of it.

Butch Trucks used these drums early on.  This section was set up to commemorate the concert at the Fillmore.  The picture behind the drums is from the last night of their first set of shows, I think...

Yeah, he doesn't know which way to go.  LOL

I love this sign!

Susan and Tim outside the Big House.

John and me outside the Big House

"I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus rolling down Highway 41."  Highway 41 runs right in front of the Big House.

We asked a local for a recommendation for dinner.  The Rookery was his recommendation.  It would now be mine too.  Deeee-lish!

Awww...they are so sweet!

We ain't all that sour ourselves.  :)
This was taken in the alley beside The Rookery.  We decided this would be our "album cover" picture if we were to ever need one.  hahaha

Wiggle at The Big House told us we needed to go to The Hummingbird for some good music.  We took his word and went.  Not too bad.  Apparently this is the place to go if you hope to maybe spot somebody famous.  We didn't see anyone currently famous, but if the Scott Little Band makes it big, we can say we saw them them.  We decided that places like this need to have a time for the "older" crowd who still wants to go listen to good music but we just can't swing with the younger crowd who doesn't get rolling until 10:30 or 11:00.  PM.

The next day we did a little more exploring.  This is a Catholic church in Macon.  They were having a funeral, so we didn't have an opportunity to see the inside, but I'm sure it was breathtaking.

Historical marker outside the church

A great picture of Susan and me, if I do say so myself.

We went to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.  It was AWESOME! But I'm not posting any pictures from it.  We couldn't use flash, so they aren't that great.  The lady in the gift shop told us that the Georgia legislature isn't going to continue to fund it, though.  What a shame!  So much history and information!

After we finished our Hall of Fame visit, Tim asked the gift shop lady for a recommendation for lunch.  She said The Rookery.  (See, it really is good!)  Since we ate there already, we decided to try Market City Cafe.  Another great choice.  We didn't have a bad meal or experience the whole time.

Macon was a truly wonderful city.  Everything was so clean, and everyone was so friendly.  The city is large enough to offer a variety of things to do, yet it was so large that you lost that Southern charm.  It was the kind of city I could see myself living in.

It is also a very pet friendly city.  Everywhere we went, people had their dogs with them.  Big dogs, little dogs, medium size dogs.  Even pink dogs.  Yes, we did see a standard Poodle died pink.  I'm quite sure it was for the festival since everywhere you might look you'd see pink. 

I would love to go back to Macon for another visit.  There are some other ABB-related places I'd like to see, and I would love to do a tour of all of the gorgeous old historic homes.  Oh my!

I know I posted a TON of pictures in this post, but I hope you enjoyed them.  Maybe they will encourage you to take a trip to Macon. 

Have a GREAT day!

17 March 2011

Cherry Blossom Festival, here we come!

Susan, Tim, John, and I are leaving tomorrow about 10 or so to go to Macon, GA, for the Cherry Blossom Festival.  I.  Cannot.  Wait.  The idea for a trip to Macon happened a couple of months ago.  Susan said they'd seen a segment on the Allman Brothers Museum on CBS Sunday (or whatever it's called) and thought it would be a fun trip.  John and I agreed, so we started making plans.  I'm not sure if Susan and Tim already knew about the Cherry Blossom Festival, or if they found out about it after looking up the museum, but we decided we'd make our trip this weekend, which is the opening weekend of the festival.
We're getting up in the morning and taking the pups to Southern Star Farms for their vacaction (which they won't like, especially on Monday when they get baths and toenails cut...) and then Susan and Tim are swinging by the house to pick us up. 

We really don't have a set agenda, except to go to the Allman Brothers Museum.  That was the whole reason behind the trip anyway.  Tomorrow night will be a concert by the ABB tribute band, so I know we'll go to that, and Saturday is a bike show at the park, and I'm sure we'll go to that.  Even though we no longer have Harleys, we'll always be bikers at heart.  :)  I've seen a couple of other things I'd like to do and see, but honestly, I'm looking forward to the time spent with Susan and Tim as much as anything.

I have my camera on my list of things to pack, so hopefully I can get some good pictures to post next week.  Right now, though, I need to close this post and head to Wal-Mart.  Then I need to go pack!  Woo Hoo!

Road Trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a GREAT weekend!  I know I will!  :)

07 March 2011

Isn't it spring break yet?

The answer is a big, resounding NO.
And I'm exhausted.

Last year, the school board approved the school calendar with spring break falling next week.  Just like it always was.  Buuuuttttt.....then we got a revised calendar with spring break falling the week of April 11.  Wha?????  The state testing dates for the ARMT and the SAT begin March 21 and last until April 8, and the elementary teachers didn't want to return from break and begin testing the same week.  Granted, that would be difficult, but couldn't we have done something a little different?  We had the AHSGE last week, so why not just cut this term short by one week and have spring break this week?  True, the weather will be much nicer (hopefully) in April, but dang it, I.  AM.  TIRED.  My co-workers are tired, and my students are tired!  We have had TWO, count 'em TWO, days off since we returned from Christmas on January 3, and one of them wasn't even a planned day.  It was an inclement weather day that will have to be made up.  And we won't have spring break for 24 more days. 

I will be off on Wednesday, but I'll still have to get up about 6:30 because I have a doctor's appointment.  So not really a day off.  Next week on Friday, I'm taking off, and Susan, Tim, John, and I are going to Macon, GA, for the Cherry Blossom Festival and to go to the Allman Brothers Museum.  Do I feel guilty about taking off?  Nope.  Not one tiny bit.  Why?  Because I am tired

OK...yes, I know that those of you who have careers in areas outside of education get only two weeks of vacation a year, but let me ask you this:  When you go home from work, do you leave your work at work?  How many nights and weekends do you spend doing work-related tasks outside of your 40-hour week?  Guess how I will spend EVERY WEEKEND for four entire weeks once research starts.  I will sit at the table from the time I get up grading.  About every two hours I'll take a break for about 15 minutes until I finish.  All day Saturday and all day Sunday.  And then I'll have the actual papers to grade while I'm still carrying on everything else that I have to do.

I know it sounds like I am complaining about my job.  I love my job.  I really do, but I am wiped out.  The sure fire way to know that I am is that my left eye begins to twitch, and it doesn't stop until I get rested..  It's been twitching for about three weeks now.  It's time for a break.

On a happy note, we just e-filed our taxes, and we're getting a nice refund.  New tires for John's truck, and a beach trip for me with the Vest girls!  Woo Hoo!!!!!

06 March 2011

Valentine's date

No, I haven't lost track of time.  It's just that the John Prine/Emmylou Harris concert was Friday night.  John got tickets for us as our Valentine's gift, so we didn't have our date until Friday.  :)

We met at the hospital parking lot in Alex City so we could get a jump on traffic, and it's probably a good thing.  We beat the majority of the Friday rush hour traffic, so we had time for a nice dinner and didn't have to rush to make it to the BJCC Concert Hall.

As we passed The Fish Market on 280, I suggested that we go to the one downtown for dinner since it is close to the BJCC and it would put us through the traffic.  I had the grilled tuna with Greek seasonings, a Greek salad, and a glass of Riesling.  John had the West Indies Salad and tea.  Oh my!  The Fish Market is one of my favorite places to eat, but we don't go that often.  This was the first time I've been to the downtown location since they moved from the original building.  They moved into an old storage warehouse behind the original location.  It is neat because they left the concrete floors and the exposed brick.  I love it when business revitalize an old buidling. 

We got to the Concert Hall about an hour before the show, so we had time to sit and people watch.  Most of the people we saw early on were of the older generation...lots of gray hair and bald heads.  LOL  After the concert was over, we did see quite a few youngsters, but they were still outnumbered. 

This was the first time we'd ever seen Emmylou.  We had tickets years ago, but they had to cancel the show, so we were excited about this opportunity.  She has such a beautiful voice, and she put on a wonderful performance.  I would definitely spend the money to see her again. 

John Prine, as always, was entertaining.  He is a storyteller-songwriter.  Most of his songs tell some type of story...some are funny, some are serious, some are a combination.  One of my favorites of his, though, is "Angel from Montgomery."  I was so hoping to hear that one, and he didn't disappoint.  Actually, he and Emmylou did it as a duet, so that made it even better.

After having bus duty all week and suffering through the graduation exam, I was dead tired, so even though I tried so very hard to stay awake on the way home, I just couldn't.  I dreaded having to get out at the hospital to get my car, but I didn't think John would agree to leaving it over night and going back yesterday to get it.  Once we got home, I did all of my nighttime rituals and crawled in bed. My head had barely hit the pillow before I was sound asleep, and I didn't wake up until almost 10 yesterday morning.  Ahhhh...

I'm going to leave you with a couple of videos.  The first is one of Emmylou's song "Big Black Dog" which will be on her new CD coming out in April.  The next one is John Prine's "Hello In There" which serves as a reminder that we should all take time out of our busy lives to stop and say hello to those older people who have often been forgotten.  Both are kind of long, but I think you'll enjoy them.  I hope so anyway!

As always, have a GREAT day!

I love my Crimson Tide!

I really, REALLY mean this...

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